This is a story straight out of the Wild Wild West, but it actually happened in
Milledgeville, GA on Hancock Street.

Headline should read: THOMAS FINNEY TAKEN FOR TREATMENT OF
WOUNDS TO CARRINGTON'S DRUG STORE WHILE FATHER LAYS DYING ON THE SIDEWALK ...

 



November 19, 1898 - the bullet flew on Hancock Street in Milledgeville, GA.
Five people wounded and one man dead.

Incident at a restaurant of Thomas Finney (18 years old).

Mr. Bill Stanley (30) with his brother Julian (24 yrs old) were not satisfied with their food, which consisted of pork, sausage, coffee, broiled steak, soup, bread and biscuits.
Bill contended after he ate that he had only been served 1/2 a dinner - of course Thomas expressed he had received a full meal and Bill told him that was a "damned lie." Thomas tried to make peace by offering other items to them, but was rewarded by a slap to the face and called a SOB by Bill. Purportedly outraged by the incident Thomas put a .32 caliber (I Johson (aka Iver Johnson) pistol in his pocked and announced if he slaps me again, I'll kill him. Thomas then proceeded to go to his father's shop across the street (Father: W. O. (Bill) Finney). His father owned the wheel-wright shop - after his father heard the story he went to the Wayne St and brought back Policeman Lawrence who listened to the story of the incident. Nothing doing but Bill Finney wanted Bill Stanley arrested for assault on his son. The police did indeed arrest Bill Stanley and he posted bond before the Mayor on the next Monday morning, the arrest apparently an attempt to let the matters cool down.
Bill Finney was not appeased, he stated that an apology to his son was necessary or Bill Stanley or one of them would have to die. The Finney's searched for the Stanley's and they were found coming towards them in front of the store of Mr. L. H. Thomas - barely west of the intersection of Wayne and Hancock Streets. Mr. Finney (elder) went to the Stanleys and told him you called my son a SOB and shot him in the chest with a 38 caliber Iver Johnson. Although he was badly wounded Bill Stanley grabbed Finney's arm and pulled his own 38 Smith and Wesson (pistol) and shot 6 shots at Finney mortally wounding him. Thomas who was standing nearby fired four shots from his 32 Iver Johnson at the Stanleys. His fire was matched with one shot from Julian Stanley's 32 Smith and Wesson. When the Policemen Terry and Lawrence arrived to the scene, all the partakers of the incident were wounded and the elder Mr. Finney was dying on the sidewalk bleeding profusely. Mr. Finney was ultimately buried in the Memory Hill Cemetery at Milledgeville in the east side Section A, Lot number 1, and in tomb number one.

Stray bullets had struck a black man and woman which caused minor injury, Thomas Finney was shot in the leg and in his side. The body of the elder Finney was taken to their home on South Wayne Street and his son Thomas was treated at the drugstore (Carrington's). The Stanley family was treated at L. H. Thomas store on Hancock and then moved to the Harper House hotel where they remained recovering from their injuries for a few days.

A jury and coroner's investigation provided the following information:
- W. O. <Bill> Finney came to his death from a pistol owned by W. B. (Bill) Stanley and from wounds from the gun were inflicted by Mr. Stanley, and that Stanley killed Bill Finney in self defense."

In the end maybe there was a different kind of justice endured, while the bullet wound in Bill Stanley's chest healed over, it was not removed and in the end of December of the same year Stanley's body had blood poisoning from the bullet and he died on January 2, 1900 with burial in the Salem Baptist Church Cemetery.

Thomas Finney died in October of 1961 and is buried in Memory Hill Cemetery a few graves away from his father -

Julian Stanley was buried in Memory Hill Cemetery East Side, Section D, Lot 85, Grave one.

Ironic as it may seem Julian and Thomas's graves are a mere distance from each other - (i.e., in line of sight of each other).

Salem Baptist Church is located less than 10 miles west of the Baldwin County Courthouse on Salem Church Road.

My notes:

William O. Finney Dec 26, 1854 Nov 19, 1898 East side, Section A, Lot 18, Person 1 Eugenia Boyer Finney Apr 1, 1857 Feb 19, 1930 East side, Section A, Lot 18, Person 2 (Wife of William O. Finney) Mother of Thomas Finney.
Children of William O. and Eugenia Boyer Finney:
1) Orry E. Finney Feb 2, 1889 Oct 9, 1914 East side, Section A, Lot 18, Person 3
Son of William. O. & Eugenia Finney

2) John Wilbur Finney Feb 24, 1961 East side, Section A, Lot 18, Person 4
Son of William. O. & Eugenia Finney

 

3) John Wilbur Finney Feb 24, 1961 East side, Section A, Lot 18, Person 4
Son of William. O. & Eugenia Finney

4) Frank Mapp Finney Jul 8, 1963 East side, Section A, Lot 18, Person 6
Son of William. O. & Eugenia Finney

5) Eva J. Finney Apr 13, 1972 East side, Section A, Lot 18, Person 7
Wife of Mr. Frank M. Finney

6) Rilla Finney Jun 6, 1970 East side, Section A, Lot 18, Person 11
daughter of William. O. & Eugenia Finney

7) Lucy Finney Henry Jan 3, 1974 East side, Section A, Lot 18, Person 13
Inscription and Notes: d/o Wm. O. & Eugenia Finney
Husband - Robert Lee Henry Jan 6, 1969 East side, Section A, Lot 18, Person 12

8) Georgia Ellen Finney May 8, 1974 East side, Section A, Lot 18, Person 10

Interested in finding the relatives and younger generations to add to this paper.
If you know of any information or have photographs of any of these, please submit them, you will be given proper credits for the submittals.


 



Mr. Wei, at the Georgia College & State University was helpful with some information for this paper along with materials from the archives. Also thanks to a gentlemen @ the cemetery and for providing information from cemetery records.
 

Submitted by Brenda Pierce

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